Senior year at Shenendehowa High School is like any other.
You meet new friends, hang out with old ones, do your homework, attend classes, dance at proms, and cheer at football games.
Except for the addition of one little thing…
Being the final year of high school, and essentially the last time we can slack off and be “kids,” senior year is dominated by the college application process, future plans, and aspirations.
One song that completely captures my perception of senior year and belongs in the “Senior Year Soundtrack,” is “On The Road to Find Out” by Cat Stevens. Since each stanza contains a moral that contributes to one large, cohesive one, I will briefly summarize what each of the nine stanzas mean:
“Well, I left my happy home
to see what I could find out.
I left my folk and friends
with the aim to clear my mind out.” To me, this part of the song represents leaving home to live on a college campus for the sake of learning new things, and creating a fresh start.
“Well I hit the rowdy road
and many kinds I met there,
many stories told me
of the way to get there.” Once we go to a college, a new chapter of life will commence. We will meet many different people along the way who will guide us in the direction we want to go.
“So on and on I go,
the seconds tick the time out,
there’s so much left to know,
and I’m on the road to find out.” It may seem daunting to think that we have more years of schooling ahead of us, but the time will fly by. Even beyond college, we will continue to gain knowledge and experience that shapes who we are.
“Well in the end I’ll know,
but on the way I wonder
through descending snow,
and through the frost and thunder,” After high school, we’ll encounter stumbling blocks/disappointments and not know what to expect (we may be traveling on the “road to find out,” but life is not a roadmap). Hopefully, in the scheme of things, we will discover what we want to study in college, what career we want to pursue, and someday, what to do with ourselves aside from educational goals.
“I listen to the wind come howl,
telling me I have to hurry.
I listen to the robin’s song
saying not to worry.” People send us, and sometimes we send ourselves, mixed messages. Parents might put pressure on us to work faster and harder, while we are afraid to make any hasty decisions (such as choosing which college to attend, or switching majors during college).
“Then I found myself alone,
hoping someone would miss me.
Thinking about my home,
and the last woman to kiss me, kiss me.” Away at college, and/or when we’re much older, we’ll reminisce about our family, friends, and possibly senior year.
“But some times you have to moan
when nothing seems to suit ya’,
but nevertheless you know
you’re locked towards the future.” It’s okay to complain about how difficult college (and life in general) will be, as long as you remember the big picture: someday these years of hard work will pay off.
“Then I found my head one day
when I wasn’t even trying,
and here I have to say,
’cause there is no use in lying.” The moment we realize who are and what we want to do with our lives could be planned and calculated. But, in my opinion, it will be spontaneous. And there’s no shame in admitting that we can’t always plan our futures accordingly.
“Yes the answer lies within,
so why not take a look now,
kick out the devil’s sin,
pick up, pick up a good book now.” The person we should listen to most carefully, is ourself. Only we know what will make us happy in the long-run. To make that happiness come true, we have to make smart, not irrational decisions–beginning with our senior year, and having an idea of what we want to do after high school.
When we put all of these stanzas together, I believe the over-arching message is this: Growing up and going to college is exciting and undoubtedly challenging, but in the end, all will pay off if we follow our ambitions and do what will make us happy.
This, is what senior year is all about.